Case study: polycystic livers in a transgenic mouse line.
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Three mice (2 male, 1 female; age, 5 to 16 mo) from a mouse line transgenic for keratin 14 (K14)-driven LacZ expression and on an outbred Crl:CD1(ICR) background, were identified as having distended abdomens and livers that were diffusely enlarged by numerous cysts (diameter, 0.1 to 2.0 cm). Histopathology revealed hepatic cysts lined by biliary type epithelium and mild chronic inflammation, and confirmed the absence of parasites. Among 21 related mice, 5 additional affected mice were identified via laparotomy. Breeding of these 5 mice (after 5 mo of age) did not result in any offspring; the K14 mice with polycystic livers failed to reproduce. Affected male mice had degenerative testicular lesions, and their sperm was immotile. Nonpolycystic K14 control male mice bred well, had no testicular lesions, and had appropriate sperm motility. Genetic analysis did not identify an association of this phenotype with the transgene or insertion site.